The Grey Seal Culls: Scotland



The Scottish Office accepted a 1960 DAFS report which said that possibly 15% of the total annual British catch of all fish from home waters fell victim to seal predation, concluding ‘seal stocks must be reduced and maintained at a level which will not interfere unduly with commercial fisheries’.

This resulted in culls on Orkney and in Western Isles during the 1960s and 1970s.

The public took up the grey seal a domestic environmental and it became linked up with international events, especially the harp seal hunt on the pack-ice off Newfoundland. The 1978 Scottish cull was abandoned due to the powerful alliance of Greenpeace, the media, and the British public, and a loss of political will in government. 

In 1982 the European Parliament announced a ban on ‘baby seal’ skin exports from Canada to Europe and by 1987, under massive international political and environmental pressure, Canada banned the commercial hunting of harp seal pups under 3 weeks old.